Budget holds blue laws' end

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COLUMBIA - Shoppers across South Carolina could buy nonfood items before 1:30 p.m. on Sundays under a provision attached to the annual House budget proposal.

Alcohol sales still would be banned, and employees still could choose not to work on Sundays, said the amendment's sponsor, Rep. Ted Pitts, R-Lexington.

But the provision effectively would end the state's "blue law" that prohibits the sale of clothes, housewares and other items before 1:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Mr. Pitts sponsored a bill last year intended to end the blue law. The House passed the bill, but it got stuck in the Senate.

Mr. Pitts said this year he attached the provision to the budget "as a way to make the Senate take it up."

All but nine counties now are required to follow the law.

Three counties - Anderson, Pickens and Spartanburg - voted to exempt themselves.

Six others - Beaufort, Charleston, Georgetown, Greenville, Horry and Richland - are automatically exempt because they take in at least $900,000 in accommodations taxes each year.

Mr. Pitts' provision would exempt any county that takes in at least $900 in accommodations taxes each year.

All 46 counties meet that requirement, according to the state Department of Revenue.

Mr. Pitts said the prohibition is particularly troublesome in counties such as Lexington that border and compete with exempted counties.

"I just feel like it's the business owner's decision," he said.

Because it's written into the annual budget, Mr. Pitts' provision would be good for one year only.

He's pushing a related bill, however, that would end the Sunday sales prohibition permanently.

At least one opponent, Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, said he hasn't changed his mind.

Blue laws are about family and religion, Mr. Fair said.

"For years, I have fought (for) blue laws on the basis that the hourly workers do not benefit from the repeal of blue laws," he said. "They are the ones that are forced to work during family times."

Yes, employees can tell their employers that they choose not to work on Sundays, but, Mr. Fair said, "It's my view that ... these employees will not ... be hired if they (say) they're not willing to work on Sundays."

Reach Kirsten Singleton at (803) 414-6611 or kirsten.singleton@morris.com.

Comments (11) Add comment
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Adam1
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Adam1 03/28/07 - 12:20 am
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I'm glad to see that S.C. is

I'm glad to see that S.C. is finally getting its head out of the sand. Seriously, it’s religion that needs to be exempt from government. Isn't it one our fundamentals that the government shall not establish or promote any one religion. Sunday is the Christian Sabbath. Judaism’s Sabbath is from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. Islam’s holy day is Tuesday.

It would be too much trouble to rearrange our week days to accommodate each religion. However, we really shouldn't be telling Jews and Muslims that they cannot purchase things simply because it's the Christians’ holy day.

I could rant all day, but the clock says its 12:18 am which probably start’s someone else’s holy day and I dare not work or buy a hammer today.

nonumberplease
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nonumberplease 03/28/07 - 04:24 am
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I wonder if this comment

I wonder if this comment posted by Adam is a person that works
retail and works on Sunday? Probably not, so enjoy your Sunday
off ! If you need a hammer buy it during the week day unless
of course, your religion is everyday except Sunday.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 03/28/07 - 05:31 am
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Legislating a persons time

Legislating a persons time off assumes that all people want the same time off. 'One size fits' all laws that are legislating family time imposes a needless hardship on most people. We don't all have the same life. Settle this with a state wide referendum. Let the voters of the state decide if they're as enamored with the blue laws as Mr. Fair seems to be. It's my contention that blue laws are sad laws. I'd rather be happy.

what
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what 03/28/07 - 06:42 am
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Whatever happened to the

Whatever happened to the separation of Church and State. Although I don't agree with the not selling of alchohol on Sudays I can understand it a little better than not letting us buy nonfood items, clothing, etc before 1:30. Do not try to enforce religious values on other people (and yes I am a Christian). If you want them to understand our beliefs then lead by example.

purmkinhed
27
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purmkinhed 03/28/07 - 08:16 am
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I totally agree with

I totally agree with what???!!! Not all are into church and the law is totally bias. My daughter had a flat tire going home from work one late Saturday night, after midnight. She had picked up her infant son at the sitters and when she got to the North Augusta Wal Mart her tire blew. She went into Wal Mart and they REFUSED to sell her a tire! Even though it is one item you CAN buy on Sundays! All the counties with blue laws are missing out on a lot of money. I take my business to GA on Sundays. It's worth the drive!!!

GuyIncognito
1
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GuyIncognito 03/28/07 - 08:29 am
0
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Of course, living across the

Of course, living across the river in Georgia, I take my business to North Augusta every other day of the week. The North Augusta Lowes and Walmart are so much better than the ones in Augusta.

OpenMinded
1
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OpenMinded 03/28/07 - 11:38 am
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Point of clarification.

Point of clarification. Sunday is not the Christian sabbath. Colossians 2:16 tells Christians not to judge anyone concerning a feast, new moon, or sabbath day. In other words, by Christian biblical text, a person can choose to hold a day special or not choose to hold a day special as he/she sees fit. So technically SOME Christians have chosen to hold Sunday as a sabbath. Other Christians, like the 7th Day Adventists, hold Saturday as a sabbath. Still other Chrisitians, like myself, go to church on Sunday but do not hold it as a sabbath- it is just another day like Wednesdays (which has some church services) or Thursdays (which has some church services). Therefore, I am in agreement with everyone who says that we should NOT be making everyone honor a sabbath day just because a select group honors a sabbath day. As a Sunday worshipping Christian who does not hold any day as a sabbath, I say kudos to SC for repealing these ridiculous blue laws. How stupid is it that I can buy a soda from a cashier before 1:30 on Sunday but I can't buy a mop from that same cashier to mop it up in case I spill it?

konphidence
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konphidence 03/28/07 - 01:01 pm
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i also agree, keep religious

i also agree, keep religious thoughts out of government laws. it always someone talking about keeping the family together. Only a family can do that and no blue law is going to promote it.

sanders20
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sanders20 03/28/07 - 02:54 pm
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Hopefully SC will take the

Hopefully SC will take the extra tax money from Sunday sales and put it the school systems thoughout the state. They sure do need it. And no, I'm not from GA. Just care about the future.

beenthere
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beenthere 03/28/07 - 07:03 pm
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I have always felt that the

I have always felt that the blue laws were ridiculous. What is even more frustrating is walking into a store that sells both department store goods and groceries and having to argue with the cashier that the dog food should be allowed to be purchased before 1:30. You will be able to find employees who are willing to work on Sundays, even if you have to hire part-timers. I should not be penalized just because I have decided not to attend church on Sunday. I should be allowed to worship when, where and how I wish. That is one of the freedoms of this country. Please, everyone, vote to get this ridiculous law reversed!! Give me back one of the freedoms that I fought long and hard for and have the right to have! Don't push your beliefs and traditions on me. I have the right to choose, and I choose to get my shopping done early and away from those crowds after church let out and spend the day with my family!

yakirz
9
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yakirz 03/28/07 - 08:19 pm
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It has nothing to do with
Unpublished

It has nothing to do with scheduling; I don't care who works on sunday and who's off. I want to buy whatever I need regardless of other peoples' religious beliefs.

Like one poster mentioned, I'm Jewish and Sunday means nothing to me, so why am I restricted as to what I can buy that day? That goes for alcohol too.

KEEP RELIGION OUT OF GOVERNMENT!

WW1949
19
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WW1949 03/29/07 - 09:34 am
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I say sell anything anybody

I say sell anything anybody wants everyday of the week. Don't try to force me to believe what your religion believes and I will not force my beliefs on you. And yes, I am a methodist. I just think I should be able to do anything I want when I want as long as it doesn't hurt anybody and beliefs don't hurt anyone.

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